Unused vehicles raise spending concerns at EMS

News

There are concerns over spending at EMS in light of its troubles with an old fleet of ambulances. 

Some workers have complained about specialized vehicles worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, which have never been used.

Among them is a brand new gas truck bought three years ago for nearly $200,000. And it’s been sitting in a warehouse since.

An EMS worker who did not want to be identified sent in a photo of the gas tanker truck inside the storage warehouse. There have been complaints among the ranks about why EMS would spend so much money on a vehicle that has gone unused for years. 

In the meantime they say they’re stuck with old ambulances that are breaking down. EMS says of the 53 ambulances on Oahu, 23 of them have more than 200.000 miles.

“Disturbing, concerning. I would think that every taxpayer in the state would be angry,” said Rep, John Mizuno.

Also sitting in the storage facility is an EMS bus, known as the AmbuBus. EMS got it in 2015.

“It’s very concerning not only to the state but also to all the county EMS workers and their equipment. I’m a little shocked at this point,” said Mizuno.

But an EMS spokesman says the truck, which was purchased for $185,000, helps to ensure that EMS units can respond effectively in case our fuel supply is cut off due to a disaster. He adds that there are five people trained to drive it. 

As for the bus, the spokesman says it can be used in the case of a mass casualty incident to transport a large amount of patients. The bus was transferred to EMS from the city and a federal grant was used to convert it into an AmbuBus.
      
Still, Rep. Mizuno says he plans to write a letter to the State Department of Health, which controls funding for EMS, to get more details. He’s also pushing for a comprehensive review of all EMS systems throughout the state. 

There are two measures moving through the legislature calling for a comprehensive review of EMS. The last time it was done was 28 years ago.

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